In November the republicans need to pick up six senate seats to take over as the majority party in the upper chamber. Given Barack Obama's recent poll numbers it isn't a stretch to think they will accomplish their goal. Let's face it there is a reason the president hasn't been out on the stump glad handing democratic candidates during photo ops meant to illustrate mutual solidarity.
That's right, it appears all the good ol' GOP optimism we saw two years ago is riding high once again. Of course, as we saw on that fateful November night in 2012, you don't win with optimism alone, or Hispanics and there is no surefire scenario.when it comes to American politics.
Just ask them in Kansas.
On Wednesday the state's democratic nominee for the senate, Chad Taylor abruptly shut down his campaign. He issued a press release and it is reported the word "suspended" was crossed out and replaced with "terminated."
So great news for incumbent, Pat Roberts, right? Not really. According to polls, Taylor and independent candidate, Greg Orman had been splitting up the opposition numbers to Robert's re-election. A fourth person on the crowded ballot is libertarian Randy Batson. He has consistently polled less than five percent.
NBC tells us there are local surveys saying that without Taylor muddying the waters, Orman's numbers improve to the point, Roberts suddenly finds himself in a dogfight. The three term senator knows it too.
His campaign quickly issued a statement calling Taylor's withdrawal, "A corrupt bargain between Greg Orman and national democrats, including Harry Reid." There was also something about, Orman being the choice of liberal democrats--as if there are a whole lot of them in Kansas. While Roberts' press release might sound a tad paranoid, he may have a point..
The Wichita Eagle reported Taylor quit after receiving a phone call from Missouri democratic senator, Claire McCaskill. Given the circumstances and timing, it is hard to think some sort of deal isn't in the works for Brother Taylor, who is currently the district attorney of Shawnee County. He isn't talking though. He told news outlets that now he is out of the race he will have no comment on anything to do with it.
The Eagle also says Orman has the the support of over 70 former legislators, all of them republicans, who are sick and tired of the party's current addiction to the extreme right. In addition there are serious questions about whether Roberts is even a Kansan any more.
He served 14 years in the house of representatives and has spent the last 18 in the senate. His voting residence in Dodge City is a home owned and occupied by Duane and Phyllis Ross, who contribute heavily to his campaigns. And--as we all know--if the grass roots here in the outback loathe anything more than Barack Obama, it is a career politician who has lost all contact with the people of his state, or district.
If Orman were to win, everyone will hold their breath to see which party he will caucus with. According to Orman, "I'm going to caucus with whichever party is willing to actually go to Washington and start solving problems as opposed to just pleasing the extremists in their own base." While Orman didn't commit either way that revelation is most assuredly not a tea party point of view.
Besides the sudden chaos in Kansas, minority leader, Mitch McConnell is struggling in Kentucky. McConnell, who is seeking a sixth term, is locked in a tight race with democratic challenger, Alison Lundergran Grimes. According to the latest Rasmussen poll, Grimes trails McConnell by six points, while six percent of voters remain undecided and seven percent claim they don't like either one of them.
Then there is Georgia where republican senator, Saxby Chambliss is retiring. The GOP candidate, David Perdue is in a dead heat with democrat, Michelle Nunn.
So now we have three republican seats in play. That's in addition to the six they need to win the senate.
Will democrats win in all three places? No, but if they can take even one things become much harder for the republicans to gain a majority.
In the end one thing has become clear in this election cycle--the tea party influence has begun to ebb. In Kansas, Roberts hammered tea bagger, Milton Wolf in the GOP primary. Now, Roberts himself is being seriously challenged by a candidate who has the support of old school republicans who think their party has sold out to a bunch of right wing lunatics they don't want to be associated with.
The truth is the tea party sociopaths are going the way of Big Joe McCarthy. When people like Ted Cruz are gone we'll all wash our hands and say to ourselves, "What in God's name were we thinking?"
It was an evil fad, but, luckily, like the hoola hoop and the twist, it is going away now.
For most of us it is none to soon.
sic vita est